DOB: 07/12/80, Age: 24, Height: 6’5’’,
Bats: R, Throws: R
Acquired: Pittsburgh Pirates - 6th Round Draft Pick 2002
2004 Stats: (Double A - Altoona Curve)
39 GAMES: .279 AVG, 17 HR, 60 RBI, 41 H, 24 R, 51 K's
.329 OBP, .687 SLG.
(High Single A - Lynchburg Hillcats)
91 GAMES: .310 AVG, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 104 H, 54 R, 97 K's
.397 OBP, .570 SLG.
Pittsburgh Pirates 2004 Minor League Player of the Year Brad Eldred is our latest Top Prospect Alert.
Eldred, who stared collegiately at Florida International, spent the summer destroying Carolina League and Eastern League pitching.
In doing so Eldred put up Adam Dunn like numbers batting a combined .300, 38 HR, 137 RBIs, with 148 strikeouts across the two leagues.
Eldred's .310, 21 HR, 77 RBI start through 91 games opened the Pirates' eyes, and earned the power hitting first baseman a promotion to Double-A Altoona.
When he hit the Eastern League, Eldred opened everyone else's eyes, and labeling his performance as a hot streak would be an understatement.
At Altoona, Eldred crushed 17 more home runs and drove in 60 runs. This was all in 39 games!!!
More astounding is the fact that 14 of his homers and 50 of his RBI's came in 27 August games.
In his final season as a collegiate player at Florida International University, Eldred hit .358 with 29 Homers and 79 RBI's while taking home Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Honors and was named as a Second and Third Team All America performer by two different publications.
While his hitting has been outstanding, there are a few red flags on Eldred. While he dominated Double-A pitching from a power hitting standpoint, making contact on a consistent basis was a major struggle as he struck out an alarming 51 times in just 147 at bats.
It will be up to the Pirates to decide if the positive affects of Eldred's power potential outweigh the negative affects of averaging a strikeout once every three at-bats.
Age is another factor to be considered as Eldred who is currently 24 years old, will turn 25 in July, thus putting him on the older end of the prospect spectrum.
An advantage Eldred has is that unlike most major league teams these days, the Pirates are undermanned at first base, with converted outfielder Craig Wilson, and Daryle Ward and minor leaguer Carlos Rivera as his main competition for the position.
This means a strong spring and a cut in strikeout numbers could allow Eldred to crack the 25 man roster.
The more likely scenario though is an assignment to Triple-A, or a brief start to the 2005 season back in Altoona.
Eldred is without a doubt one of the more interesting prospects to watch this coming year. If he can continue his hot hitting Eldred could be the late 2005 / early 2006 version of Dunn, but if he falters, a career of unfulfilled potential, along the lines of Walter Young, Calvin Pickering, or Derrick Gibson could be in his future.
UPDATE 4-28-05: Eldred is picking up just where he left off last year. Through 68 At-Bats this season, Eldred is hitting .294 with 8 Home Runs 16 RBI's, and 22 strikeouts while walking just six times.
He seems to be the minor league version of Adam Dunn, a guy who can hit for average and power despite striking out in one out of every three at-bats. Expect a call up to Triple-A very soon for this emerging prospect